Copa America postponed until 2021

On Tuesday morning, South American soccer’s organizing body Conmebol reiterated that it would be postponing the Copa América until 2021 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Copa América is South America’s flagship continental competition, involving the national teams of 10 nations, and was planned for June and July 2020. The decision was first reported by Brazilian journalist Martín Fernandez, who writes for Globoesporte, and later confirmed by Conmebol.

The news comes at the same time as UEFA, Conmebol’s European equivalent, has decided to postpone the 2020 European Championships until 2021. The decisions were taken in conjunction.

Conmebol, which had informed on Monday that it would be holding a video-conference with member nations, released a statement on Tuesday saying that the tournament was postponed to “protect the safety and security of the national teams, supporters, means of communication and host cities.”

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Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez was quoted as saying: “It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and as such responds to the fundamental necessity to avoid an exponential evolution of the virus; [which is] already present in all the countries of the member associations of the confederation.”

The initial plan, Fernandez states, is to delay the competition by almost exactly a year – the start date will reportedly change from June 12, 2020, to June 11, 2021 – but to keep the format.

The Copa América 2020 was set to be split between Colombia and Argentina, with Qatar and Australia, both nations that play in the Asian confederation, coming in as guest participants. As the Conmebol soccer region only includes 10 countries, it is common for the tournament to feature teams from other continents.

The 12 national teams were to be divided into two groups of six, with one based in Argentina and the other in Colombia. Two quarter-finals and one semi-final would then take place in each country, with the final to be played in Barranquilla, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

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